01:56, March 08 64 0 theguardian.com

2019-03-08 01:56:05
Rape victims can’t trust the justice system

Figures showing that the rape prosecution rate in England and Wales has hit a five-year low (Report, 6 March) are a shocking but unsurprising reminder of why violence against women and girls is often unreported. Many women and girls believe – with reason – that they won’t get justice. The government’s new strategy to combat violence against women and girls is welcome, but to be effective it must tackle their low levels of confidence in the legal system.

At ActionAid, we know from our work that around the world women and girls don’t feel able to report gender-based violence, from rape to sexual harassment. Our research has found that while nearly half of women globally, including in the UK, have experienced sexual harassment, 68% of those women did not report it to police. Half believed that it would be “pointless” to do so.

In a world where one in three women has experienced violence, governments must do more to ensure justice for all survivors. Women should be able to feel confident that when they speak out, their voices will be heard at every level.

Anne Quesney

Women’s rights advocacy specialist, ActionAid UK

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